We Dont Always Follow The Rules
There are many rules in life which we have to learn that are never taught. For example, we say thank you for a gift regardless of whether we like it, or asking if someone else wants the last slice of anything . The problem is, these subtle social guidelines are everywhere and, more often than not, autistic people break them without a second thought.
Obviously, it is not an autistic persons intention to break these rules, its just that, as the autistic mind works on absolutes , it can be a challenge to understand many of these acts wherein nearly all cases they go against how they would seem i.e. if someone asks how are you? they dont always actually want to hear how you are, they just want you to say fine and then you can move on.
Nevertheless, whilst autistic people arent great at getting the message when the message hasnt been made clear, we are incredible at memorizing what we are told and are brilliant at following instructions to the letter. Therefore, if theres some kind of rule that an autistic person doesnt seem to be following, just tell us. its not like we want to be naïve to this and, whats more, if you know we struggle and arent doing anything about it, well that, my friend, is perhaps more rude than anything we do.
A Parents Guide To Autism Treatment And Support
If youve recently learned that your child has or might have autism spectrum disorder, youre probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child, or confused by conflicting treatment advice. Or you may have been told that ASD is an incurable, lifelong condition, leaving you concerned that nothing you do will make a difference.
While it is true that ASD is not something a person simply grows out of, there are many treatments that can help children acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. From free government services to in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs, assistance is available to meet your childs special needs and help them learn, grow, and thrive in life.
When youre looking after a child with ASD, its also important to take care of yourself. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier.
Highly Stressful For Parents
Consider the case of Nadia Bloom, an 11-year-old with Aspergers who disappeared while riding her bike, only to be found waist-deep in an alligator-infested Florida swampland. Incredibly, she suffered only from bug bites and dehydration. Jeff Bloom, Nadias father, told reporters, Our daughter is a nature lover. She went on a bike ride and stopped and went off to take some pictures.
Its no wonder that more than half of parents reported that wandering is the most stressful ASD behavior, ahead of self-injury, rigidity, aggression, and meltdowns. Meanwhile, 62 percent said fear of their child eloping stopped them from attending or enjoying activities outside the home, increasing their social isolation; not surprisingly, 40 percent of these already exhausted parents said they lost sleep while worrying about a potential escape during the night.
So why do ASD children wander? While researchers still arent sure, parents ranked these as their childs top five possible motivations:
1. He/she simply enjoys running and exploring 2. He/she is heading to a favorite place he enjoys such as a park 3. He/she is trying to escape an anxious situation like demands at school 4. He/she is pursuing a special topic of interest, i.e. when a child fascinated by trains heads for the train tracks 5. He/she is trying to escape uncomfortable sensory stimuli such as loud noise
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Why Are Rates Higher Among Children
There are a number of reasons why the prevalence of autism is higher among school-aged children than adults, starting with the measurement.
Prevalence refers to the rate of diagnosis and/or self-reports, not the rate of actually having autism. As autism is a lifelong condition, its more likely the rates of actually having autism are stable across adults and children.
Diagnostic techniques and awareness of autism have improved dramatically in recent times. Many autistic adults would not have been given a formal diagnosis, but rather misdiagnosed or just seen as weird.
These days, there are clear benefits of having and reporting a diagnosis for school-aged children; including access to funding and educational support. This means parents who suspect their child has autism may seek out a diagnosis when in previous generations they would not.
There are far fewer benefits to having and reporting a diagnosis for adults, and many more barriers, including stigma and discrimination.
How Can I Help A Friend With Autism
People with ASD have a very wide array of signs and symptoms. Some people with ASD do not feel that they have a disorder and don’t want to change. They’re proud of who they are and they want to be accepted, even though they may have different strengths and weaknesses than most other people.
All people deserve respect. But people with ASD may be teased, bullied, or left out because they’re different. Bullying and teasing are never the right way to treat other people, but it may be hard to be a friend with someone who has ASD.
People with ASD often don’t understand playful jokes or sarcasm. You may need to be very clear and factual when you communicate with someone who has ASD.
Try to be patient and kind. Remember how hard it might be for the person with ASD to understand how to be a friend. Stand up for classmates who are bullied. Tell adults, so they can help protect kids who are bullied.
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What Should I Do If My Child With Autism Hits Me
If youre here, you likely need answers regarding your childs aggressive behavior. Before we dive into our tips for how to stop an autistic child from hitting, you must understand;why;this occurs in the first place.
Unable to express their thoughts or feelings in words, children with autism may lash out and hit, scratch, or bite their parents or siblings. Hitting can range from an open-handed slap to a closed-fisted punch, and some outbursts may even injure themselves or others.
Many things can trigger aggressive behaviors like hitting, scratching, and biting, but these are some of the most common in children with autism:
- Feeling very anxious or stressed
- Trying to communicate
- Sensory overload or sensitivity
- Not understanding whats going on around them.
Once we understand;why children with autism behave this way, we can work toward prevention and treatment. First, we need to discuss appropriate ways of dealing with aggressive and violent behaviors in children with autism.
A Good Treatment Plan Will:
- Build on your childs interests.
- Offer a predictable schedule.
- Teach tasks as a series of simple steps.
- Actively engage your childs attention in highly structured activities.
- Provide regular reinforcement of behavior.
- Involve the parents.
Choosing autism treatments
There are many different options and approaches to ASD treatment, including behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional therapy.
While you dont have to limit your child to just one treatment at a time, its unlikely youll be able to address everything at once. Instead, start by focusing on your childs most severe symptoms and pressing needs.
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What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.
The signs include the following:
- Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
- Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
- Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
- Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
- No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
- No words by 16 months.
- No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Lost & Afraid: Where To Turn When Autism Turns Violent
The Dark Side of Autism — Violence, Assault, Police Interaction.My wife and mother-in-law think that he’ll come out of the autism to a degree, but I don’t see it. They’re basing this hope on my sister-in-law coming out of her shell to a degree, but she only has Aspberger’s and not full-blown autism. On top of that, in the eight years I’ve known him I’ve only ever seen him get worse. It has me wondering what would have to happen before they finally admit he’s dangerous. Does someone have to get seriously injured in one of his attacks?I’m trying not to resent him, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. His violent behavior towards everyone around him has me afraid for my daughter’s safety. Because my wife is stuck watching him constantly, she can’t get a job, and we’re struggling financially. Any time I try to talk to her about the situation, I’m either met with hostility or silence.Read the full article HERE.
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Autism Can Be Misdiagnosed
In some cases, a practitioner may put an “autism” label on a child because of behaviors and symptoms that fit the criteria of autism but miss other issues that underlie the behaviors. Not only are many symptoms of autism shared by other related , but some autism-like symptoms may be caused by physical issues that can be addressed. For example:
- Late or disordered speech, a classic symptom of autism, can be caused by many different issues ranging from Apraxia of Speech to hearing loss. Address the underlying issues, and typical speech may emerge.
- Sensory challenges can lead to autism-like behavior, but it is very possible to have sensory dysfunction without being autistic. Help a child to manage or avoid sensory assaults, and many of the behaviors will disappear.
- Some autism-like behaviors can result from allergies, toxins, or food intolerances. If a child is allergic to or intolerant of casein or gluten, for example, removing those items from their diet can have a tremendous positive impact on learning and behavior.
- In some cases, children are diagnosed with autism when a more appropriate diagnosis might be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, or Non-Verbal Learning Disorder. When that’s the case, it’s possible for a combination of cognitive therapy and appropriate medication to essentially eradicate the problem.
We Leave Conversations Abruptly
Like modern-day Houdinis, autistic people are prone to a disappearing act or two. However, unlike the magicians of the past, were not exactly subtle about it. This can sometimes be observed when we are smack bang in the middle of a conversation and then, once weve said our piece, abracadabra, were as good as gone.
In truth, conversations can be hard work for autistic people, as finding the meaning behind the amalgamation of expressions, words and tone is a long and tiring process. Conversely, Were the ones that can get left behind in discussions and, with so much new information bombarding us, our automatic fight or flight kicks in and were outta there.
If you want to help an autistic person in these circumstances and ensure that we dont prematurely vamoose, give us plenty of opportunities to ask for more information and, maybe, consider speaking more slowly .;
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Myth Of Sudden Autistic Regression
Autistic burnout is sometimes called autistic regression, especially when referring to infants and toddlers. An estimated 30% of autistic toddlers will experience regression, likely because their brains are developing so rapidly and are thus under a lot of strain. Some people have mistakenly blamed vaccines for causing regression in toddlers. However, regression often begins in the first year of life, before the child is given vaccines.
Multiple studies show children often exhibit signs of autistic burnout long before the parents first notice them. For example, an infant might show signs of social regression, such as a lack of eye contact. The parents might not notice these signs because they are intermittent or subtle. Often the parents dont realize there is cause for concern until the child shows difficulties with language. The symptoms of burnout may seem sudden to parents, but they are actually part of a gradual progression.
Toddlers who experience autistic burnout are more likely to have a co-occurring intellectual disability. However, people who experience burnout in early childhood can also grow up to have average or even exceptional IQs. Just because a child has had a disruption in their development does not mean they have lost these skills forever.
Teach Them Coping Strategies Once Theyre Calm
There isnt much we can do during a meltdown as far as trying to teach our children coping tools, but when theyre in a peaceful and rested frame of mind, we can definitely work on emotional regulation together.
My son responds really well to nature walks, practicing yoga daily , and deep breathing.
These coping strategies will help them calm down perhaps before a meltdown even when you arent around.
Empathy is at the heart of all of these steps to dealing with an autistic meltdown.
When we look at our childs behavior as a form of communication, it helps us view them as struggling instead of being defiant.
The word defiance can drop from our meltdown vocabulary entirely, replaced by empathy and compassion. And by showing our children compassion, we can more effectively support them through their meltdowns.
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Theres A Difference Between Forcing Behaviors And Encouraging Independence
Ive learned from experience that trying to force independence is counterintuitive, whether or not your child has autism.
When we push a child, especially one prone to anxiety and rigidity, their natural instinct is to dig their heels in and hold on tighter.
When we force a child to face their fears, and I mean screaming-on-the-floor petrified, like Whitney Ellenby, the mother who wanted her son with autism to see Elmo, we arent actually helping them.
If I was forced into a room full of spiders, I would probably be able to detach from my brain at some point to cope after about 40 hours of screaming. That doesnt mean I had some kind of breakthrough or success in facing my fears.
I also assume Id store those traumas and theyd invariably be triggered later in my life.
Of course, pushing independence isnt always as extreme as the Elmo scenario or a room full of spiders. All of this pushing falls on a spectrum ranging from encouraging a hesitant child to physically forcing them into a scenario that has their brain screaming danger.
When we let our children get comfortable at their own pace and they finally take that step of their own volition, true confidence and security grows.
That said, I understand where the Elmo mom was coming from. We know our kids would enjoy whatever activity if they would just try it.
We want them to feel joy. We want them to be brave and full of confidence. We want them to fit in because we know what rejection feels like.
An Attraction To Water
Given the high number of wandering-related drownings, some in the community have come to speculate as to why those on the spectrum are drawn to water; one theory is that it has an alluring, calming effect due to the repetitive pattern of reflections, or the way it puts even pressure on the body, which sensory-seeking children may enjoy. However, Singer says theres no data from the wandering survey to support those theories: We just dont know why.
McIlwain says the wandering code could have helped in myriad ways had it been in effect when her son, Connor, had his most dangerous wandering incident. The boy, now 11, began wandering at school when he was 3. But at 7, he was able to leave the playground of his suburban Raleigh, N.C., school, despite McIlwains notes alerting the staff to not let him out of your sight. Motivated by his fascination with exit signs, the boy, who has autism, took off through the woods and was headed for the highway when a Good Samaritan picked him up and started driving him around, hoping to find his school.
When staff at the first school the man stopped at didnt recognize Connor, they called the police. The officers took over the search without knowing who the boy was.
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What Is The Difference Between Outgrowing And Radically Improving
According to the DSM, anyone who was every correctly diagnosed with autism will always be autistic, even they do not appear to have the symptoms of autism. The fact that they are not showing any significant symptoms is a testament to their ability to “mask” or “manage” their challenges. This interpretation is shared by many functional adults who were diagnosed with autism as children. They say “inside I’m still autisticbut I’ve learned to change my behaviors and manage my feelings.” In other words, there is some basic difference that makes autistic people autistic, and that basic difference doesn’t go away, even if behavioral symptoms disappear.
Then there are those who have a very different point of view. Their perspective: if a person no longer exhibits sufficient symptoms for an autism diagnosis, then she has outgrown autism. In other words, the therapies worked and the autism is gone.
Who is right? When symptoms are no longer obvious to an outside observer, have they been “outgrown?” “cured?” “masked?”;
As with so many things related to autism, there is no absolutely correct answer to this question.;And the uncertainty extends into the professional realm. Yes, there are practitioners who will remove the autism label, saying “the autism is gone.” And yes, there are practitioners who will keep the label, saying “autism never truly disappears, though its symptoms may not be evident.”;By choosing your practitioner carefully, you may be able to get the answer you prefer!